Road To Freedom | May 2016

Their Road to Freedom Starts with You


SNEAK PEEK: We’re excited to share our new campaign with you before we roll it out later this week. We want to reach new supporters for the thousands of vulnerable children poised to benefit from the 2016 CDF Freedom Schools® summer program.

Research shows that only 48 percent of children living in poverty are ready to learn at age five, compared to 75 percent of children from families with moderate and high incomes. Summer learning loss makes that achievement gap grow larger each year.

Today, you can do something about it. Help pave the way for our most vulnerable children to reach their full potential. Join the Road to Freedom fundraising campaign.

Road to Freedom is a social fundraising campaign for the CDF Freedom Schools program to help vulnerable children in low-income communities become local leaders. By becoming a fundraiser you can help more children on their journey to Literacy, Leadership, and Social Advocacy . . . and toward becoming your community’s best citizens!

Get started now and create your own Road to Freedom fundraising campaign page today. Don’t want to start your own campaign? You can still contribute by making a donation today.

Check it out, and please share your campaign page with your family, friends and others in your community. Together we can ensure all children know what freedom looks like.

CDF Freedom Schools® SUMMER KICK-OFF


National training is fast approaching. Nearly 2,000 college students from 96 cities will converge at CDF Haley Farm in Tennessee the end of this week to learn about servant leadership, how to deliver the empowering Integrated Reading Curriculum and make learning fun. CDF Haley Farm will be filled with cheers and chants, team-building classes and an extraordinary group of speakers, teachers and trainers. This is all part of the annual, transformational Ella Baker Child Policy Training Institute. Since 1995, we’ve trained more than 17,000 college students and recent graduates — many have gone on to become teachers, principals, administrators and college professors.

YOUTH SPOTLIGHT: Returning for the fifth year in a row, Ella Baker Trainer Rashida Ford will kick off a new site sponsored through her organization, Play on Purpose Inc. Children at this site will focus on sports combining athletics, health and fitness with the literacy, leadership and advocacy CDF Freedom Schools model. We also have a special recognition for David Williams. He grew up going to the CDF Freedom Schools program and now that he’s in college is coming back as a Servant Leader Intern with the Marlboro Country Freedom Schools. We are so proud of him for overcoming the odds stacked against him, and giving back to help change the odds for others in his community.

PARTNERS: We’re grateful to our strong partners for their commitment to offer hope, opportunity and healthy meals to needy children in their communities through the CDF Freedom Schools program. Learn more about the CDF Freedom Schools program and how you can get involved.

Creating a Diverse Teacher Pipeline
The CDF Freedom Schools® program is creating a diverse teacher pipeline for our children. A recent report, The State of Racial Diversity in the Education Workforce, from the U.S. Department of Education and the department’s National Summit on Teacher Diversity held in early May reaffirmed we still have a long way to go. Now nearly half of our elementary and secondary school students are children of color, but a new national survey of public school teachers and principals found only 18 percent of the teachers and 20 percent of the principals were people of color. Secretary of Education John King highlighted the importance of the CDF Freedom Schools program in creating that pipeline for a more diverse education workforce in his opening remarks.

President Obama Appoints Marian Wright Edelman


Last week, President Barack Obama announced his intention to appoint CDF President Marian Wright Edelman to the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).  We offer our congratulations to Mrs. Edelman, and to Phyliss Craig-Taylor, dean of North Carolina Central School of Law; and Lillian Lowery, president and CEO of FutureReady Columbus who will also be appointed. Read how the Afro American covered this exciting news: Education Advocate Wright Edelman Among Appointees to HBCU Advisory Board.

Philadelphia Moves Early Childhood Investments Forward
CDF President Marian Wright Edelman spoke at a Philadelphia event this month sponsored by the William Penn Foundation, as that city with the leadership of Mayor Jim Kenney seeks to offer high-quality early childhood to all 3- and 4-year olds, enrolling the poorest children first. The Mayor’s innovative approach to pay for it? He’s asking the City Council to approve a three-cent-per-ounce sugar-sweetened beverage tax, noting that the health rationale for the tax is strong, but it is the equity benefits that are most important. Mrs. Edelman said, “This is a very modest tax. It will make a huge difference in the lives of thousands of children. This is an opportunity for Philadelphia to really shine and help us start a domino effect.” Four cities fully engaged in universal pre-K were highlighted at the event: Cleveland, Denver, New York City, and San Francisco. Many echoed Mrs. Edelman’s call for pre-K as a key piece of a full continuum of early childhood development and learning opportunities that must include voluntary home visiting, child care, Early Head Start and Head Start, and full-day kindergarten.

Pediatricians Combat Child Poverty
“Poverty is the most serious non communicable disease that children have — and it’s the most common.” – Dr. Benard Dreyer, President, American Academy of Pediatricians

Pediatricians are in a unique position to help poor children, both in their practices and as trusted advocates for children. This month the Academic Pediatric Association (APA) devoted an entire supplement dedicated to child poverty in America, in their official journal Academic Pediatrics, to help empower pediatricians, community and national leaders, policymakers, and advocates to address child poverty now. CDF President Marian Wright Edelman contributed a commentary sharing CDF’s proposed solutions that we know can and will reduce child poverty and promote opportunity. CDF also applauds the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation earlier this year for all pediatricians to ask about poverty and basic needs in patient visits and to urge state and federal lawmakers to expand existing housing, food, and health programs. America cannot afford not to end child poverty. Share CDF’s blueprint for action report: Ending Child Poverty Now.

Rural Child Poverty
In 2014, nearly 25 percent of children in rural areas were poor, compared to about 21 percent in metropolitan areas. Two CDF State offices are working to change the odds for success for poor rural children in their states.

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Renuka Mayadev, Executive Director of CDF-Ohio speaks at the press conference for the report’s release.

Appalachia Ohio
A new report by CDF-Ohio paints a troubling picture of the health and well-being of the children in Appalachia Ohio. Ohio's Appalachian Children at a Crossroads: A Roadmap for Action.

The new report, follows up on a ground-breaking one in 2001 and notes some positive change, but overall finds a stark contrast in the well-being of the Appalachian children compared to those in the rest of the state and much of the nation. Many health problems have worsened or newly emerged and the percentage of children living in poverty in the region has increased.

The report provides specific, actionable recommendations to improve the lives of children and the region overall. Learn more about the work CDF-OH does to improve the lives of Appalachian children.

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CDF-SRO two-generation participants attending a Financial Literacy Bootcamp.

Poor Families in Mississippi
In many rural areas high child poverty has existed for decades — ending child poverty now takes a “two-generation” approach to create opportunities for economically vulnerable children and their parents at the same time. Gloria Shields, Program Associate and Benefits Bank Coordinator for CDF-Southern Regional Office, is working to expand home visiting programs to include working mothers and their economic needs and interests. “We have found that having someone there to encourage, nudge, and connect the parents is part of the secret sauce to helping families succeed,” said Oleta Fitzgerald, Executive Director, CDF-SRO, “Thanks to Shields’ efforts, while children are receiving high-quality early education, their moms are now working toward their GED or taking college courses. In the long-term, these efforts will add up to higher incomes for families and better outcomes for children who otherwise may have fallen behind.” Learn more about the two-generation approach to addressing rural poverty in this blog post from the Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group.

CDF-MN: Update on Family Paid Leave


From left to right: Governor Dayton, Senator Katie Sieben (chief Senate bill author), and
CDF-MN Executive Director Bharti Wahi

As one of three co-chairs leading the Minnesotans for Paid Family and Medical Leave coalition, CDF-Minnesota is proud of the unprecedented progress made in the 2016 Minnesota legislative session to advance a Paid Family and Medical Leave insurance program, hopefully paving the way for its successful passage in 2017. The legislation made its way through six Senate committees and got out of the Senate, but passage was blocked in the House, despite strong support from the community, the Senate Majority Leader and both Governor Mark Dayton and his Lieutenant Governor Tina Flint Smith.

2016 Beat the Odds® Scholars
This month CDF celebrated ten youths in Texas and Ohio with Beat the Odds® scholarships. These youths have overcome tremendous adversity to achieve academically, give back to their communities, and pursue their college dreams. We are grateful to all who came out to support them as part of their caring community of adults. Join us, as we applaud these extraordinary youth and welcome them into the CDF family.

2016 CDF-Texas Beat the Odds Winners

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Drew Bernard

Christine Egu

Taylor Garrett

Bontu Workineh

Mikenzie Yates

2016 CDF-Ohio Beat the Odds Winners

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Darrius McLean

Journae' Morris

Linda Ransom

Ebi Reyes-Leiva

Emily Wilcox

Mark Your Calendars to Protect Children Not Guns


The Children’s Defense Fund is a partner for the 2nd Annual National Gun Violence Awareness Day.  Please join us to help Protect Children, Not Guns by wearing orange on June 2nd to build awareness for gun violence. CDF has our own Protect Children, Not Guns orange T-shirt for sale in our online store. Order now, and if you pay for overnight shipping we’ll try to get it to you in time for you to wear it June 2nd

Register Now for New Strategies, Skills and Effective Models


The 22nd annual Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry will provide a unique experience to leave you informed, inspired, equipped, connected and ready to pursue justice for children from the sanctuary to the street. When you join our Beloved Community you will hone your organizing skills, recommit yourself to making a difference for children in your community, and most importantly — recharge with an intergenerational, interracial, and culturally diverse community of faithful child advocates. Make sure to check out this year’s great preachers and speakers, and more than 20 workshops that will strengthen your skills to better advocate for children in your community. Register today!

Marian Wright Edelman’s May Child Watch® Columns focus on building a stronger nation for our children by ending child poverty and creating sustainable community literacy outreach, and as Foster Care Month comes to a close, the difference mother love makes for a child’s overall success in school and life.

Original Child Bomb

Building Strong Children Today for a Strong Nation Tomorrow

Welcome to Everyone

Mother’s Day Call to Action

Stories of Mother Love

Thank you for your support and dedication to improving the lives of all children in America.

Please share our message and mission with your networks. Encourage your friends, family and neighbors to join our Road to Freedom fundraising campaign and to join our mailing list.

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